In accordance with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, we recommend that children be brought to the dentist by age one. The ideal time for a child to see a dentist is when their first tooth has grown in but no later than their first birthday.
How to Prepare Your Child for a First Visit to the Dentist
If this is your child's first trip to the dentist, you as a parent will play a large roll in preparing your child for this visit. Children are keen and can see if you are nervous or display any anxiety.
You can help to make their first trip to the dentist enjoyable and positive. A few tips include using positive language around your child when discussing his/her first visit and role-playing with your child such as counting teeth together. Children's books and videos are available at most bookstores to also help with your first visit. Your child's dental visit should be an important and fun adventure that if you are relaxed and positive about this experience, it will help them be positive, too.
What to Expect During the First Visit
The first visit will start with a review of your child's medical and dental history and an initial examination. After a comprehensive examination of your child, any significant findings will be directly discussed with you. Dental radiographs are taken, if necessary, to ensure a thorough examination followed by oral hygiene instructions to emphasize proper oral health care.
All aspects of a preventive dental health program including diet, hygiene, sealants, and fluoride will also be discussed.
If able, a cleaning and polishing of their teeth will usually follow along with fluoride application. For optimal communication, we will explain each of our procedures in terms your child can understand. We want to make your child's first appointment a positive experience in order to set the tone for future appointments. If any dental findings indicate further treatment is needed, then subsequent appointments may be scheduled.
It is always better to make a first dental appointment before your child has a dental problem or pain. By starting an early prevention program, future dental problem can be avoided. Often times, if tooth decay is detected early enough, there are therapies available that can be used to reverse or minimize their growth. Furthermore, by introducing your child when little dental treatment is needed, he/she becomes a better patient with a more positive attitude about dentistry.